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Body of Benchers Convene, Refrain From Commenting on NBA Letter

Chief Wole Olanipekun SAN

Tuesday’s Body of Benchers (BoB) meeting didn’t include any discussion of the letter the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) sent to Chief Wole Olanipekun, the NBA’s chairman, requesting that he resign.

The body had postponed its final emergency meeting from June 21, 2022, to today in order to talk over issues raised by some of its committees’ reports and make preparations for the call-to-bar ceremony that will take place tomorrow, Wednesday.

According to Shola Soyele, judiciary correspondent for Channels Television, some 30 members physically attended the meeting in Abuja, and another 50 members participated virtually.

Chief Wole Olanipekun, the BoB Chairman, was there physically and presided over the meeting. Olumide Akpata, the president of the NBA and a participant, remotely attended the conference from his vacation location.

Off camera, some attendees of the conference claimed that it began at 11.30 am and lasted around 2.30 pm.

The call to bar event that will take place tomorrow was the main topic of conversation at the meeting.

The committee decided to move the call ceremony from the Nigerian Law School in Bwari, Abuja, to the BoB Secretariat on the Airport Road in Jabi, also in Abuja, due to security concerns.

According to its custom of holding quarterly meetings, the body’s next meeting is anticipated to take place in September.

The BoB, which is led by Chief Wole Olanipekun, is a group of lawyers who have achieved the highest level of distinction in the legal industry.

The organization is in charge of disciplining bad attorneys as well as formally calling those wishing to practice law to the bar.

The Bar had requested that the Chairman of the BoB resign from his position in a letter dated July 22, 2022 and signed by the NBA President so that the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee, LPDC could look into an alleged instance of professional misconduct by one of his partners, Adekunbi Ogunde.


Ogunde, a partner at Wole Olanipekun and Co.’s law firm, acknowledged that, around a month ago, she emailed Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd. to request a brief that was being handled by Ajumogobia and Okeke, the legal practice of another SAN, Odein Ajumogobia.

The argument in the brief concerned the ongoing $130 million lawsuit filed by the Rivers State government in the Rivers State High Court.

Ogunde wrote to Mr. Caio Francesco of Saipem asking for the brief, stating that her law firm, Wole Olanipekeun & Co., would have more clout in helping Saipem avoid what could be a hefty payout to the Rivers State government.

Later, she would attribute this to overconfidence. Additionally, her company issued a disclaimer stating that Ogunde’s letter was sent without their consent.

The NBA petitioned the court to demand Ogunde give a statement regarding the accusations of professional misconduct in a letter dated July 19.

The NBA President promptly responded on Friday of last week by calling for Olanipekun to resign so that due procedure could be followed and the LPDC could carry out its responsibilities without the BoB chairman raising questions about his objectivity.

The BoB Chairman stated at the time that he was on vacation outside of the country and had not seen or received the letter when Channels TV called him for his response to the letter.


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